LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Kolton Browning reminded the nation that Louisiana-Monroe is no stranger taking down the Southeastern Conference.
Browning accounted for 481 yards of total offense and four touchdowns Saturday night, including the game-winning scramble in overtime, to help the Warhawks (1-0) rally from a 21-point deficit for a 34-31 win over No. 8 Arkansas.
The win is Louisiana-Monroe’s first over a ranked team since joining the FBS in 1994, and it is the school’s first over an SEC team since defeating Alabama in 2007. The Warhawks are 4-34 against the SEC, with their only other win coming against Mississippi State in 1995.
It is also the Sun Belt Conference’s first win over a top 10 team, and the league’s first over a ranked opponent since Troy defeated Missouri in 2004.
“It’s a great feeling; we feel like we deserve it,” Browning said. “We believed the whole time, and we’ve believed for two years that we could put something like this together.
“We knew this moment was coming.”
As stunning as Louisiana-Monroe’s victory was, considering the school was 9-15 the last two seasons under coach Todd Berry, it was equaled by the shocking loss by the Razorbacks. Arkansas (1-1) was 21-5 the last two seasons and expected to contend for the SEC and national championships this season, despite the April firing of coach Bobby Petrino.
Those hopes appeared crushed in War Memorial Stadium by the unlikely Warhawks and in particular by Browning, who was 42 of 67 passing for 412 yards.
The junior finished with 69 yards rushing, the last 16 coming on his winding, game-winning fourth-and-1 scramble in overtime — capped off by his dive into the end zone that sent Louisiana-Monore’s players and coaches onto the field and left the Razorbacks crowd in stunned silence.
“He did a great job,” Arkansas coach John L. Smith said. “He made play after play after play after play after play. … We couldn’t tackle him, we couldn’t stop him.”
The Razorbacks played the second half without first-team All-SEC quarterback Tyler Wilson, who suffered a head injury after taking several big hits in the first half.
Wilson, who also missed the second half against New Mexico last season with concussion-like symptoms, was 11 of 20 passing for 196 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game at halftime.
The Warhawks trailed 28-7 midway through the third quarter before rallying behind Browning, who made his first career start in Little Rock against Arkansas two seasons ago — a 31-7 loss. Browning was 7 of 17 passing for 74 yards in that game, but he was seemingly unstoppable in his return to War Memorial Stadium.
Time and again, the second-team All-Sun Belt quarterback from a season ago escaped pressure from the Razorbacks and found open receivers. That included a 23-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-10 with 55 seconds remaining in regulation when Browning connected with Brent Leonard for a 23-yard touchdown pass to tie the game 28-28.
Leonard finished with 11 catches for 112 yards, and the Warhawks outgained Arkansas 550-377 in total yards. Louisiana-Monroe faces another SEC team next week at Auburn.
“The only way that this becomes real is if we play well again next week against a really good Auburn team,” Berry said. “We have our work cut out for us next week, and we look forward to a very difficult game at Auburn.”
The Razorbacks led 28-7 midway through the third quarter after freshman quarterback Brandon Allen connected with MeKale McKay for a 13-yard touchdown. Allen, filling in for the injured Wilson, finished 6 of 20 passing for 85 yards.
The Razorbacks had little offense after that, though they managed to take a 34-31 lead in overtime after a 37-yard field goal by Zach Hocker.
Cobi Hamilton led Arkansas with 99 yards receiving and a touchdown on six catches. The senior has eight touchdown catches in seven career games in Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium.
The Razorbacks started slowly for the second straight game, even with Wilson in the lineup in the first half.
Arkansas struggled at times in last week’s season-opening win over Jacksonville State, allowing 163 yards passing in the first half to the FCS Gamecocks. The Razorbacks’ defensive woes continued Saturday.
Browning was at the center of Arkansas’ frustrations, avoiding the Razorbacks time and again. His 4-yard touchdown pass to Centarius Donald put the Warhawks up 7-0 in the first half, and he closed Arkansas’ lead to 28-21 early in the fourth quarter with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Steed.
The Razorbacks now turn their attention to a visit from No. 1 Alabama next week — a game that appears to have lost much of its luster.
“Any loss is devastating,” Smith said. “Again, we still have the league in front of us. They’re all devastating, but we still have the league in front of us and that’s a positive.”
No. 1 ALABAMA 35,
W. KENTUCKY 0
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — AJ McCarron passed for 219 yards and matched his career high with four touchdown passes to lead Alabama.
McCarron had two scoring tosses apiece to Christion Jones and Kevin Norwood in a performance that was more about big plays than consistent, muscle-flexing dominance for the top-ranked Crimson Tide (2-0). The Hilltoppers (1-1) were 40-point underdogs and the sandwich opponent between top 10 opponents Michigan and No. 8 Arkansas.
A running game that produced 232 yards against the Wolverines took a back seat to McCarron and the capitalistic defense. McCarron completed 14 of 19 passes and played all but the final series.
No. 2 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 42,
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Matt Barkley matched a school record with six touchdown passes and Robert Woods was spectacular with 200 all-purpose yards and two scores.
The rare trip to the Northeast for the Trojans was choppy at times, and Syracuse’s hurry-up offense kept USC working hard for four quarters at MetLife Stadium, the home of the Giants and Jets.
Led by Ryan Nassib, Syracuse kept things close with consecutive touchdowns in the third quarter to make it 21-16 heading into the fourth. Nassib finished with 322 yards passing, two touchdown passes and a touchdown run.
No. 3 LSU 41, WASHINGTON 3
BATON ROUGE, La. — Alfred Blue rushed for 101 yards, including a 21-yard score, and LSU racked up 242 yards on the ground.
Power runner Kenny Hilliard added a pair of short touchdowns and fullback J.C. Copeland powered through for another score for LSU (2-0), which basically ran at will while averaging nearly 5 yards per carry.
No. 4 OREGON 42, FRESNO ST. 25
EUGENE, Ore. — Kenjon Barner ran for 201 yards and three touchdowns.
De’Anthony Thomas ran for 102 yards and two additional scores for the Ducks (2-0), who sprinted to a 35-6 lead in the first half before the Bulldogs were able to slow them a bit in the second. Redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 19 of 27 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown.
No. 5 OKLAHOMA 69,
FLORIDA A&M 13
NORMAN, Okla. — Damien Williams ran for 156 yards and four touchdowns in a record-setting Owen Field debut, and Kenny Stills added 120 yards receiving and a score.
No. 6 FLA. ST. 55, SAVANNAH ST. 0
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — EJ Manuel passed for three touchdowns in the opening seven minutes and sixth-ranked Florida State’s defense held lower-division Savannah State to 28 yards in a game called in the third quarter because of lightning.
No. 9 SOUTH CAROLINA 48,
EAST CAROLINA 10
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dylan Thompson completed 21 of 37 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns.
Thompson’s first completion was a 53-yard pass to Damiere Byrd. He finished the game averaging almost 16 yards a completion and did not throw an interception.
No. 11 MICHIGAN STATE 41,
CENTRAL MICHIGAN 7
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — Andrew Maxwell threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns, and the Spartans (2-0) scored 10 points in the final minute of the first half to take a 24-0 lead.
Michigan State was playing at Central Michigan (1-1) for the first time, part of a decade-long series of games against the Chippewas, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan.
No. 12 CLEMSON 52, BALL STATE 27
CLEMSON, S.C. — DeAndre Hopkins caught three touchdown passes, Andre Ellington rushed for two scores and Spencer Benton kicked a 61-yard field goal to set an Atlantic Coast Conference record.
Ellington’s two short TD runs helped the Tigers (2-0) get off to a fast start, and Tajh Boyd found Hopkins for touchdown passes of 13, 34 and 15 yards in the second period to help increase the lead to 35-10. Benton finished the Tigers’ 45-point half with his record-setting kick as time ran out.
OREGON STATE 10, NO. 13 WISCONSIN 7
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Sean Mannion threw for 276 yards and a touchdown, Oregon State’s defense smothered Wisconsin’s Montee Ball and the Beavers upset the No. 13 Badgers.
Mannion connected with Brandin Cooks on a 20-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the second half to give the Beavers a 10-0 lead then turned it over to the Oregon State (1-0) defense that forced two turnovers and held Ball to 61 yards rushing.
The win snapped Wisconsin’s 33-game non-conference winning streak, the second-longest in the country behind LSU.
Wisconsin finished with 207 yards and only 35 on the ground. It was the lowest total yards for Wisconsin in five years. The previous non-conference loss for Wisconsin (1-1) came early in the 2003 season when the Badgers lost to UNLV.
It took 41 years for a Big Ten team to visit Corvallis after Iowa was handed a 33-19 loss in 1971. With this kind of reception from the Beavers, it might be 41 more.
No. 14 OHIO STATE 31, UCF 16
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Braxton Miller became the first Ohio State (2-0) quarterback to rush for three touchdowns in 34 years, and passed for another score.
A week after setting a school record for quarterbacks with 161 rushing yards in a 56-10 win over Miami (Ohio), Miller finished with 141 yards on 27 carries. His number kept coming up after starting running back Carlos Hyde left with a first-half knee injury.
No. 15 VIRGINIA TECH 42,
AUSTIN PEAY 7
BLACKSBURG, Va. — With the offense struggling, Virginia Tech turned to special teams for a pair of big plays.
Kyshoen Jarrett reeled off a 46-yard punt return to set up the Hokies’ first touchdown, and Tony Gregory’s punt block led to their second score before Virginia Tech — playing its second game in six days after a season-opening overtime win over Georgia Tech — finally got untracked.
ARIZONA 59, NO. 18 OKLAHOMA STATE 38
TUCSON, Ariz. — Ka’Deem Carey scored four touchdowns and Matt Scott threw for 320 yards and two scores for Arizona.
The Wildcarts (2-0) fell into a quick 14-0 hole before scoring the next 30 points as Oklahoma State (1-1) unraveled under a shower of yellow flags. The Cowboys had 15 penalties for a school-record 167 yards before settling down enough to rally within two points late in the third quarter.
Carey for 126 yards and scored on two touchdown runs in the fourth quarter to seal an impressive second win under new coach Rich Rodriguez.
Oklahoma State’s Wes Lunt threw for 436 yards and four touchdowns to Tracy Moore, but also had three interceptions, including one returned 48 yards for a touchdown by Jonathan McKnight in the fourth quarter.
No. 17 TEXAS 45, NEW MEXICO 0
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas quarterback David Ash scored on a 49-yard touchdown run and had receivers turn short throws into two more scores and the No. 17 Longhorns routed New Mexico 45-0 Saturday night.
Ash’s touchdown run came on Texas’ sixth play from scrimmage. Mike Davis caught a 22-yard touchdown pass just before halftime. In the third quarter, Ash flipped the ball to Daje Johnson in the backfield and the freshman scooted around the end for a 45-yard TD.
Ash was 16 of 22 for a career-high 221 yards for Texas (2-0).
No. 19 MICHIGAN 31, AIR FORCE 25
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Denard Robinson ran for 218 yards, threw for 208 and scored four touchdowns.
Robinson became the first player in major college football history to have at least 200 yards rushing and 200 passing in three games, according to the NCAA records book.
The Wolverines (1-1) bounced back after a 41-14 loss to Alabama, though they had a tough time beating the Falcons (1-1) in a game they were favored to win by three touchdowns.
No. 20 TCU 56, GRAMBLING ST. 0
FORT WORTH, Texas — Casey Pachall threw three touchdown passes, two to Josh Boyce, as TCU got off to a fast start in its first game as a Big 12 Conference member and debut of its $164 million completely redone stadium.
No. 21 KANSAS STATE 52, MIAMI 13
MANHATTAN, Kan. — Collin Klein threw for 210 yards and ran for 71 more as the Wildcats improved to 6-0 at home against BCS non-conference opponents under Bill Snyder, who has the program he elevated to elite status humming again.
John Hubert added 106 yards rushing and a touchdown, and Daniel Sams added two scores on the ground as the Wildcats (2-0) rolled up 498 yards of total offense while holding Miami to 262.
NO. 22 NOTRE DAME 20,
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Tommy Rees relieved starter Everett Golson late in the fourth quarter and led Notre Dame on a winning drive in the final minutes.
Kyle Brindza kicked a 27-yard field goal with seven seconds to go.
Rees, who was suspended for the opener after he was involved in a skirmish with police at a party in May, started 12 games last season.
No. 23 LOUISVILLE 35,
MISSOURI STATE 7
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Teddy Bridgewater kept Louisville’s offense clicking Saturday by passing for a career-high 344 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite a statistical falloff from last week’s 19-of-21 effort against Kentucky, Bridgewater still completed 30 of 39 passing attempts. He once again involved others and often, with seven of his 10 targets catching at least three passes.
NO. 25 STANFORD 50, DUKE 13
STANFORD, Calif. — Drew Terrell returned a punt 75 yards for a score and caught a 19-yard touchdown pass and Ed Reynolds took one of his two interceptions for another touchdown as Stanford rebounded from a disappointing opener.
Josh Nunes completed 16 of 30 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns, showing more flair in his second start since No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck left for the NFL. The redshirt junior overcame his first interception to move the Cardinal (2-0) offense with a strong and steady hand that never surfaced in a 20-17 win over San Jose State last week.
Jordan Richards picked off a pass by Duke’s Sean Renfree to highlight a dominant defensive effort by Stanford in a final tuneup before hosting No. 2 Southern California next week.
The Cardinal held the Blue Devils (1-1) to 27 yards rushing and forced three turnovers.